Jeff Wood
Urban Reads

Why Has Condo Construction Collapsed in the US?

All the city news you can use.

By - Apr 13th, 2024 03:00 pm
The Pointe on the River in 2011. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

The Pointe on the River in 2011. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Every day at The Overhead Wire we sort through over 1,500 news items about cities and share the best ones with our email list. At the end of the week, we take some of the most popular stories and share them with Urban Milwaukee readers. They are national (or international) links, sometimes entertaining and sometimes absurd, but hopefully useful.

Cities cracking down on AirBnB: The initial idea of AirBnB and short term rentals were supposed to herald a new idea in sharing extra bedrooms. But for many cities it has become an existential crisis, pulling housing off the long term market and leaving many workers without places to live. To combat the loss of housing, many cities are getting creative in how they regulate short term rentals, banning stays shorter than 30 days or increasing taxes on owners. (Reasons to be Cheerful)

The condo construction collapse: Condominium construction has dropped off a cliff after 2010 and questions arise about why that might be the case. Salim Furth wonders if it has to do with condos in multi-family buildings appreciating less than single family homes over time, or if condo defect law that creates liability for builders has made them much less popular. It’s a fertile ground for new research and may have some answers to give about our current housing crisis. (Salim Furth | Market Urbanism)

Drive-thrus great for big chains, bad for cities: Half of Americans use a drive-thru at least once a week according to the American Restaurant Association and the pandemic has increased how much business fast food chains derived from drive-thrus at each store. But the supersizing of this popular land use driven by autocentricity also sucks the value out of all the potential productive land around them as well. (Marina Bolotnikova  | Vox)

Houston mayor stuck in 20th century: Houston’s new Mayor John Whitmire was told by the city’s police chief on a ride along that a new road diet was a problem so the mayor had it ripped out without consulting the council member of that district. Now journalists can’t get access to communications related to the removal because the Homeland Security Act has been invoked. It’s just one of many questionable decisions on traffic safety Whitmire has made that makes it seem like he’s stuck in the 1990s. (Michael Hardy | Texas Monthly)

Building deconstruction and recycling: The City of Tacoma Washington approved a resolution that would look into building deconstruction that would recycle more material in order to meet climate goals. Cities such as Portland OR have deconstruction ordinances that require buildings built before 1940 to be taken apart and recycled.  Deconstruction is different than salvage in that it is meant to maximize the reuse of all building materials, not just valuable surface level ones. (Ysabelle Kempe | Smart Cities Dive)

Quote of the Week

Until now, we have conceived and managed Barcelona’s vast metropolis as an urban conglomerate, bringing together the 36 municipalities of the metropolitan area. However, it’s long been evident that the actual city has outgrown these confines, evolving into a broader economic and demographic entity – the metropolitan region – that encompasses over a hundred municipalities. What has transpired over the last four decades transcends a mere process of urban concentration; it represents a change in model.

-Spanish journalists Milagros Pérez Oliva in Barcelona Metropolis introducing a series of articles focused on the region’s strategic planning process.

This week on the podcast, we’re sharing a San Francisco Planning and Urban Research (SPUR) forum on how a statewide coalition of CA transit advocates were able to organize a funding bridge to avert a fiscal cliff for transit operators in the state.

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